This is a long ARK tradition, that I have decided (and been given permission to) share with you at this time. It seemed appropriate. We keep a thread for our Memorial, the bells tolling mournfully as ARKs come and ARKs go. Right now you're invited to share in this tradition. I hope to some extent that you will toll the bell in remembrance of the people who worked for you - the many, many ARKs, GMs, and Developers who have come and gone, but whose names you might remember that I have not listed here. You are also invited to toll the bell for those people who shaped your life on Rubi-Ka, your faction leaders, friends, adversaries. But this is intended as a respectful Memorial, and not anything but - keep it in that tone, please.
Originally written by ARK Fiacra. I've made a couple of changes.
I had just sat down in my usual spot. End of the bench, next to that beautiful old tree and the ever-burning campfire. I breathed in the wonderful combination of woodsmoke and forest and settled in to get a few petitions done. As usual, my activity was nowhere near where I wanted it to be.
I nearly jumped off the bench. In all my time here I'd never heard a bell ring.
It sounded like it was behind me, but that way was the lake. I got up to take a look.
Next to the water there's a sort of a deck. Someone had mounted an old ship's bell on the pole there. A group of people was gathered around it. They were taking turns ringing the bell.
I could hear them say something before they rang the bell, but from where I was, I couldn't make out the words. They looked very solemn. Some were crying.
I walked closer. Another person had walked over to the bell. He spoke.
I understood all at once. These people had come to remember friends now gone.
Some of the names I knew. Some I didn't. The whole history of ARK unfolded before me as they read the names and tolled the bell.
Now and then someone would recall an anecdote or a quote from the person. Others would laugh softly and maybe brush away a tear.
We stood for a long time, listening to the names, remembering friends and gen-mates no longer present. Wishing we could spend just a little longer with them.
I felt the need to add my voice. I walked up to the bell hesitantly and grasped the cord.
The last name was read at sunset. The peal of the bell echoed off the calm waters as the day ended. We stood in silence awhile longer, remembering, saying goodbye. Then, in small groups or singly, the gathered dispersed into the darkness.
"Just goes to show you can't replace the ones that go. Each to their own they brought something individual to this place. You can't fill shoes of people gone, nor can you find someone to replace them. But with what's brought, some is left behind. *Every* ARK leaves footsteps behind from where they came from, to where they went. We follow in those footsteps even if we do not want to, and they are still here; even if they appear not to be." ~Lornavash
"Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need to know of hell." ~Emily Dickinson, "Parting"
The sound was deafening as the engines spooled up. The pilot nodded to the ground crewman who gave the "Clear" sign and hurried off the pad. The shuttle lifted into a hover.
Over the comm I heard the pilot: "2217 departing ICC for Morning Star with three pax."
"Roger 2217, you are clear. Contact Morning Star control. Good day."
The shuttle lifted, then rotated right. Accelerating, it moved off to the east.
Have I mentioned how much I hate goodbyes?
"Ops Control, they're on their way. I'm heading back to the GMPF."
I closed my eyes and thought about the spot I wanted to be at. I felt the familiar tingle as the nanobots went to work.
I opened them again and found myself standing in front of the old ship's bell. The cold wind made a sound like Rubi-Ka herself was mourning.
I really hate goodbyes.
“So many, all at once”, I whispered. The wind only seemed to cry louder.
It seemed as though the very foundations of Rubi-Ka were slipping out from under us. People we had come to depend on. People we had come to love. People who had made Rubi-Ka what it is today. Gone.
How can we make it without them?
My shoulders sagged and I swayed a little. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder supporting me.
A voice behind me asked “Are you alright?”
Turning around, I saw an Opifex female I didn't recognize wearing an Assistant Advisor's uniform.
“Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I just finished my first sponsor session and my Advisor said it was ok to wander around.”
“It's alright”, I smiled. “How is your training going?”
“There's a lot to remember”, she shrugged. “Why is that bell here?”
I explained about the bell, and why I was here. I remembered my earlier question: How can we make it without them?
The answer was standing in front of me.